Tokyo: A Life Cinematic

Pondering the movie that is ‘life in Tokyo’.

Jim Morrison of The Doors once lyricised; ‘Have you had a good life, enough to base a movie on?’. Not sure he ever made it to Japan. Given his general reputation and that little episode in Newhaven, they probably wouldn’t have let him in anyway. After all, as I explain to anyone foreigner who ever considers going on the hunt for some Mary Jane in Japan, this is the country that refused access to one of The Beatles based on a previous conviction for marijuana. ‘Nuff said.

However, I digress…..

It could be down to the way I look at the world but I think, even for the most un-artistic soul, standing in Tokyo [especially certain spots like the scramble-crossing in Shibuya I was near when I took the shot you see below] can be an intensely cinematic experience. Pop a pair of headphones on your ears, with the right playlist fed into them, and you have the soundtrack to go with the pictures.

This is something I often do as I cruise around town with my camera. It helps me distill the moments I like from the frequently over-powering visual feast that surrounds me in this most photogenic of cities. A split-second may end up imortalised through my camera. The rest of life often ends up on the cutting-room floor of my brain. It can’t be helped. There’s simply too much ‘footage’ to consider using it all in the final cut.

Shibuya in the rain by Alfie Goodrich

And then there’re those rainy days when, as hard as I try, I find it almost impossible to shake scenes from Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner from my head. Tokyo in the rain is for me the magnum-opus of its cinematic output: the neon mixes with the wet, the pavements come alive with reflections and the crowds extend vertically like a wall of translucent plastic that diffuses light and creates mystery as it blurs the people behind.

Now, as summer ends and I find myself more inclined to leave the air-conditioned sanctuary of home more often, I look forward to autumn’s rains, the fall of the leaves and the next act of Tokyo: The Movie.

And yes, Mr. Morrison, I think I have……I think we probably all have.

About Japanorama

Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

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